Don’t You LOVE to Laugh

cute squirrel photo

Laughing . . . who doesn’t like a good laugh? I can’t imagine anyone not loving to laugh, it’s one of my favorite things to do and I very much miss it when it’s been too long since I’ve enjoyed a good laugh! Laughter is even more important in stressful times, such as this past year, and I thought this excerpt from my 1982 Every Day Cook Book, was most interesting and so very true!

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So there you have it . . . Go ahead and laugh and I say do it boisterously as well! You will feel so much better afterwards, as laughter is truly the best medicine! That being said, here is your “Ridiculous Remedy” for the week. I must say it’s weird for it be geared toward women, but alas it was in a time when women did most of the cooking in the late 1800s. Perhaps this is where Rocky Balboa got the idea of drinking raw eggs for strength, but I think I will pass on this one no matter how hungry I get!!

everyday cookbook

The sun blessed us with its appearance a couple of days this past week, so once again Wes and I charged outdoors full speed ahead to enjoy the infrequent occurrence! I even got to wear shorts and I can’t express how wonderful it felt! I got a great dose of vitamin D whilst traipsing about beneath clear blue skies!

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The first afternoon we went for a nice hike in the park, and I was delighted that the Spring Peepers were out and about, filling the air with one of natures most beautiful symphonies! Nearly every pool of water we passed was filled with an abundance of frog eggs, in various sizes and stages. 

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Every time we came upon another pool, I had to stop and peer down into the water to look for eggs. There were massive clumps of them everywhere, gently pressing onto neighboring clumps. It was an amazing frog nursery, and paired with the song of peepers filling the air, delivered the most delightful arrival of spring! The photo below was taken with my GoPro camera underneath the water, affording a unique submerged glimpse into this amazing occurrence.

frog eggs photo

Whilst hiking we discovered this Honey Locust Tree absolutely covered with BIG, long, sharp thorns, and I decided it obviously wants to be left alone! I can’t imagine tripping and falling into something like this . . . YIKES!!!

honey locust tree

The other sunny afternoon, we spent on the water kayaking. It was all fun and games on the way out, with the wind at our backs pushing us along. However, on the return trip, we paddled like crazy at times and didn’t seem to go anywhere, and the wind occasionally gusted so hard, it was spraying us with water! Thankfully it was quite a bit warmer this time, so I didn’t mind it at all. As a matter of fact, there were times when the waves gave quite a thrilling ride! Although the water is still way too cold to wade in, I had some fun with my GoPro and captured this really cool video (below) of both beneath and above the water!

~ In The Studio ~

I’m putting the finishing touches on my commission of President Biden, for the Woolaroc Museum’s historic Presidential Portrait Miniature Collection. I’ll be sharing the video with you, of the complete process once it’s finished, as well as photos of the painting installed in the case.

presidential portrait miniature by rachelle siegrist

~ See our miniatures in person this week ~

 Exquisite Miniatures at the Norfolk Arts Center, in Norfolk, NE

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our website, artofwildlife.com

Would you like to commission us? If so, contact us by Email

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Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Cool Clear Water and Painting Videos

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love to laugh! I believe it’s important to find humor in life, especially when we find ourselves in stressful times like we’re currently in. That being said, while peering out the dining room window yesterday morning, watching the falling snow and the entertaining antics of my hilarious squirrels and birds, I decided to take a few videos of them and ended up getting a great one! I had watched it a couple of times, before noticing the Tufted Titmouse looking in through the hole in the feeder, and when I saw the end, it made me laugh hysterically! So I just have to share this with you, in case you’re in need of a good laugh too!

Looking out over the graphite landscape this past week, I told Wes “I just don’t know what I’d do without my birds and squirrels and the joy and life they bring to our deck, especially this time of year!” I truly can’t imagine a world void of birds and animals, and I’m sure you can’t either, as they bring so much life to great outdoors. We’ve been enjoying our daily walks, and I’ve started feeding a local flock of guinea fowl, which I call the “Paquoks” and you’ll see, or hear rather, why I call them this after you watch this video. They’re so beautiful with their brightly colored heads, with matching red and blue waddles on either side, looking like feathered turtle shells moving across the grass. I don’t know who is happier when I’m feeding them . . . me or them! There’s one particular guinea in the lower part of this video though, who is either very upset about this feeding operation being filmed or it wants ALL the attention placed on it! Either way, its’ antics add a funny touch to the video!

Most days of our winter have been like looking through a View Master, where every slide but one looks like a 2D graphite image, then you wake up one morning and as you let your finger off of the slide changing button, into view pops a vivid brightly illuminated world filled with a brilliant blue sky, and I love it when that happens! So when we were blessed with just such a day this past week, we headed into the nearby Smoky Mountains National Park to enjoy another relaxing walk in the woods! We walked along a different trail in areas and found some rather beautiful pools of water throughout a meandering stream.

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It was truly a glorious day as we walked along, and I absolutely loved feeling the sun warming me all over! Nearly each and every pool we came upon, I had to stop and peer down into the cool, clear water whilst looking for fish. I never did spot any fish, but found the slow moving water completely mesmerizing, lulling me into a state of total relaxation!

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I took the photo above with my GoPro camera and love the way it offers a view into both worlds . . . above and below the water!

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Several pools, I dreamt of being able to wade and snorkel in during the warmer months, and could almost imagine I was in the Caribbean somewhere, with the stunning blue and green colors of the water! We returned home that evening feeling totally refreshed from our afternoon spent in the great outdoors!

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 So . . . What’s Happening in the Studio? 

Wes finished his painting of one of our resident Tufted Titmice “Warm Sticks, Cold Snow“, sitting outside the kitchen window, during one of our recent snows. I love the colors which he painted in the snow, shades of pinks, lavenders and blues. This painting and my painting below, are both available and you can learn more about them on our website. Here’s a short time-lapse video of his painting process on this miniature.

I’ve started on a hilarious painting featuring an up-close and personal view of a Zebra showing off his teeth, which I’ll be sharing with you next week. Meanwhile, I uploaded my painting video of the “Wood Thrush” on silk and here it is for you to enjoy.

Do you want to enjoy your own special miniature painting?

Then contact us via the links below!

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

What’s This . . . an Owl Pellet

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Our amazingly, gorgeous Christmas snow event has faded into the past, and our weather here in the Smokies has settled back into its typical winter weather pattern, turning our world into a graphite landscape once again, void of color. I sit by the dining room window peering out at the varying shades of gray, when suddenly a male cardinal flies into view, landing on a bare branch nearby, bringing a beautiful shot of intense red into my seemingly colorless world. “Thank goodness for male cardinals this time of year!“, I say to myself, who bring a touch of bright cheery color to the mostly black and white landscape! 

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The sun did grace us with its illuminating presence one afternoon this past week, so I jumped at the chance to spend a few hours hiking in nearby Smoky Mountains National Park! We suited up and started hiking merrily along our way, and I couldn’t resist occasionally stopping to tilt my head backwards and peer up at the intense azure blue sky, while holding my arms out to the side, like a bird readying to take flight! It felt amazing being bathed in the abundant sunshine, especially when its’ warmth finally penetrated my multiple layers! 

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As we walked along, a murder of crows flew overhead at one point, landing on the outstretched arms of a tall tree nearby. At first they chattered and carried on as if discussing very serious matters, then commenced to jumping from one limb to the other, until finally deciding whom should sit by whom, while their discussion continued. I love crows and always enjoy a chance to listen to them and watch their antics!

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We saw several white-tail deer as we walked along through the woods, and were delighted that we remembered to take our good camera this time, so that we were able to zoom in on the various critters we spotted off at a distance. This beautiful doe was enjoying eating fresh green sprouts of tender grass.

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We saw at least two Northern Harriers flying above at different times. Rounding a curve in the path, we saw the one shown above, snatch something from the thickly covered ground and fly up onto a stump where it sat for a short while, eating whatever it was, before flying off once again. It was a beautiful site indeed, and we were delighted to have our better camera with us! Walking along, we noticed numerous piles of scat from different critters, and I mentioned to Wes that it had been a long time since we saw an owl pellet. Well lo and behold, would you believe just a few steps further along, I looked down and spotted this this perfectly oval shaped object, and upon closer inspection, I realized it was an owl pellet, even containing a wee set of foot bones! It was a glorious afternoon and we returned home feeling most refreshed and newly inspired! 

owl pellet

~ What’s Happening In The Studio ~

Well, my miniature painting “Girl With a Pearl Earring after Vermeer” headed to her new home this past week, but “Mona Lisa after Da Vinci” can still be yours! Visit our WEBSITE to learn more about adding this miniature masterpiece to your own collection!

mona lisa painting

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle